As widespread concern regarding the global COVID-19 pandemic has finally subsided, other challenges here and around the world still provoke anxiety — and undermine the sense of certainty that Americans wish for. Fortunately, a new book by San Francisco based author, educator and entrepreneur David Parker offers the reassuring message from a deeper understanding — namely, that our problems are not new.
The very title of Parker’s new collection of essays, Rome 476 (Waterside Productions, October 2023), is intended to inspire readers to return to a study of history. He awakens our short attention spans with powerful events in world history — for example, the fall of Western civilization in 476, when the Roman army refused to stop the invading Huns. Those soldiers stood by as Rome and its Colosseum were destroyed. Why? They hadn’t been paid. Why? All tax revenue went to service interest on the debt. Sound familiar? In the opening pages of the book, Parker writes, “Rome fell in 476. With it, Western civilization, civil rights, scientific and technological progress. Followed by the Dark Ages. One thousand years.”
Parker argues that every year, America’s elected representatives drift further from the principles upon which this nation’s great democracy was founded. In several essays, he describes milestones in American history initially hailed as “progress” — Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” — as failures.
A lifelong educator in San Francisco’s Public Schools, Parker went back to school to study history, economics and government — to gain a deeper understanding of the principles behind his economic success as an entrepreneur, plus, to find solutions to society’s seemingly intractable problems. Rome 476 is Parker’s third collection of essays. It follows Income and Wealthand A San Francisco Conservative.
Among the important ideas Parker shares in Rome 476, readers will learn:
– It is important for progressives to learn that “every economic system has problems … [but] those problems are personal, thus, not solvable by government.”
– Societal problems are solved by human beings individually “pursuing their self-interest to survive.” Because, according to Adam Smith, everything then falls into place automatically, without design, as if led by an “invisible hand.”
– “Government intervention in any market destroys that market.” In America, the declining quality of education and the exorbitant cost of health care are two good examples.
– “Government’s duty is to protect, not provide, life, liberty and property.”
A San Francisco Conservative: The Podcast
Readers inspired by David Parker’s books will also like his podcast series, named after his playfully titled second book, A San Francisco Conservative. Each episode showcases Parker’s views on the proper role of government and how individuals can arrange a market economy to work in their favor. The podcast’s co-host is longtime journalist Tom Martin, who previously served as a producer for ABC News “Good Morning America,” CBS News and CNN.
About Author David Parker
David Parker is the author of Income and Wealth, A San Francisco Conservative and Rome 476. He began his career in education at the age of 24 and served students of San Francisco’s inner-city public elementary schools for 40 years as a music teacher, followed by 10 years as a volunteer. While pursuing his career in education, Parker became a very successful real estate investor. It was his success in business that focused his writing, teaching and career as a professional musician. Parker’s career as a musician is similarly impressive. He spent 20 years as a member of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, then 20 years as leader of the Dave Parker Sextet, which twice headlined the San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Festival.
Parker’s thoughtful essays have been featured in The Economist, The Financial Times and two prestigious law journals. In addition to being an author, entrepreneur and investor, Parker is a proud father and grandfather. His mother, Gertrud Parker, was a powerful inspiration. Late in life, she became an international artist as well as a civic leader in San Francisco.